Globally, one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year—approximately 1.3 billion tons—gets spoiled or wasted, resulting in over 795 million people lacking regular access to healthy food. A recently launched food waste grocery store in the United Kingdom is working to reduce this major issue by selling products that other stores have rejected or thrown out, due to nearing expiration dates or dented packaging. Operating on a “pay as you feel” model, the to-be-named warehouse helps people on tight budgets obtain proper nutrition for their families.
This innovative food waste supermarket was opened in Pudsey, near Leeds, by The Real Junk Food Project Charitable Foundation—a global, organic network of successful pay-as-you-feel cafés which turn food destined to be waste into nutritiously delicious meals. Their mission is to stop food waste in our lifetime, “to ensure the next generation do not suffer from our ignorance.” Since its opening on August 21, the food waste market has already helped several desperate families struggling to feed their children. For one woman named Kirsty Rhodes, whose husband was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition and was forced to quit work, her family’s income was reduced to nothing, seemingly overnight. “The warehouse has absolutely been our lifeline over the past month or so,” she told The Independent.
While this is the first store of its kind in the UK, it echoes similar programs such as Denmark’s WeFood, which began selling rejected grocery store items on its shelves earlier this year. With more people committing to combat global food waste, The Real Junk Food Project’s mission seems possible. Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, plans to open a warehouse selling surplus produce in every city in the UK. His actions hopefully inspire other countries to follow his lead.
All images via Adam Smith.